Chalk to make his mark
NOTE: RACES are assessed for a Good 4. All horses considered starters unless notified by Monday at 1 PM. (N/R) denotes no rating.
3. GAYATRI (67) is by Pierro and has a double cross of Zabeel. Her 2nd dam, Empress Lily, was placed in VRC Oaks, the 3rd Dam is Tycoon Lil. All that is a long way of saying filly will stay and has always looked that too in her pre-debut trials. The 1500m first-up was perfect — hence the win — but she found the mile too short next time at Kembla and on top of that, it wasn’t really run to suit. To get as close as she did was a tremendous effort. Gets 1800m now, gate 1, third-up, Bowman. 8. ROCK ZONE (59) gets his chance to beat, or at least test, Gayatri given the 5.5kgs weight pull. He was narrow but comprehensive winning over the mile at Hawkesbury last time out. Nothing to suggest he won’t be as effective at the 1800m. 2. MISS JENNY (68) beat Gayatri at Kembla last time they met but the way the race was run it certainly favoured her (the local) and made it too tough for the visitor. Miss Jenny was scratched from race 3 over 1550m today to run in this.
THERE was a bit of money for 7. CHALK (62) when he ran at home at Warwick Farm on their Saturday meeting Dec. 22 being $8.50 into $7. He was a conspicuous last of the 9 for long way and came down outside of the field to finish 8th of 9 but
margin was only 2.8-lengths. It really wasn’t that bad a run at all actually and another example of how finishing positions can be misleading. In fact, Chalk is ‘8848’ going into this and I, for one, am quite keen on him. 9. SOSTENIDO (56), the Orange based barnstormer, is a much better horse than one who is 2 wins from 14 starts. The Brian Gentle trained gelding has been seriously competitive on town in recent times — but what holds him back the most is his patter, he does give away some pretty serious headstarts and that might work elsewhere but it’s a tough ask in town. Still, that’s him and that’s how he has to be ridden — no reason why can’t zoom home in this suitable race. 3. SMILING MANOLITO (65) can thank his lucky stars that his stablemate Welsh Legend blew the start at Canterbury
other night or he’d have a ‘2’ next to his name and not the ‘1’. That’s racing. He’s only won 2 from 16 and placed 8 times of you get my drift.
CHRIS Waller controls this race with his two mile+ mares in 4. VIA VENOTO (65) and 3. IVY’S COURT (65). If you need reminding, Via Veneto is a goldmine broodmare prospect for Vinery being by All Too Hard out of the VRC Oaks runner-up, Valdemoro, herself an EDL half to Highland reel and a granddaughter of Circles of Gold. Via Veneto is midweek class/ standard. She has gone 1400m, 1550m then 1900m in her three runs this time in. Back to 1550m today but no second guessing with Waller, expect say, that the last run was a month ago so she should be plenty fresh. As for Ivy’s Court, she is out of a Montjeu mare so will stay longer than this trip. Bolted in at Wyong in a skinny Bm64 then came here and was 3rd in a 1550m Bm70. She a clear last that day from 7 of 7, one would expect that maybe barrier 1 this time gives Bowman the option to park up a bit closer. 8. CLASSIC PRINCESS (61) was emphatic winning that Bm64 over the mile at Wyong on Dec. 12. The last time she raced in town was on Cup Day where he did a good job to run 3.5-lens to Vinnie Power. Genuine each-way player.
CHRIS Waller has 6 of the 10 but I can’t imagine that they will all be there but all I hope id that 7. MILUNKA (N/R) is one of them. That said, she has drawn 10 and is nominated for Canterbury on Friday night so I am kind of thinking she stays home. I really like this filly. She is by All Too Hard. The 3rd Dam Special. Wow. She was bred and retained by Nearco Stud (NZ) who bred Hong Kong superstar Beauty Generation and this filly’s half brother Kuro among others. Her trial was sensational. If not today then wait for Friday. Stablemate 1. BELLADEEL (N/R) has turned in two very, very good barrier trials — won the first then was deadset locked down and never touched in her next when third. Interesting pedigree in that he is by Dundeel out of an Ifraaj mare, grand-dam is a Sir Tristram, so should be in Guineas/Derbies’ from here on in so to be showing what he over the 800m and 900m in his heats suggests he might be rather handy. 8. SIZZLING ACE (N/R) is capable of winning but she more capable at this stage of ripping money out of punter’s pockets. I will say that 9. SEAMAGIC (N/R) is by far not the worst of the Waller half dozen. Then there 4. NOBU (N/R) but can’t see him running from that alley.
WITH the scratching of the oddson favourite, Our Century, we are down to five runners competing for the spoils of the $150,000 Listed ATC New Year’s Day Cup (2400m) at Royal Randwick today. I guess we have to look now at a match race between 3.
NAVAL WARFARE (90) and the old timer 2. DESTINY’S KISS (103). Naval Warfare beat some of the biggest walkers and onepacers going at WF last Saturday week but he is a Waller stayer and that garners him instant respect. I love Destiny’s Kiss — the winner of 11 Cups including this same one in 2017 but it might be the old fellow needs a slow track or heavy track these days but it not as though he still is very competitive in this grade. One point that Joe Pride has made Destiny’s Kiss the past is that a lot of his wins, a lot of those Cups wins, have been with 59-odd on the back and in small fields, say up to about 7 or 8. That kind of number doesn’t require him pass too many others of get held up — if it was a slow or heavy track, he’d be the best bet 2019! For third I am looking at the maiden 6. DASHING SPECIAL (45). He might give some good old fashioned cheek up front.
I FAVOUR two horses that have left their previous trainers to take up new digs, one recently, the other a bit longer ago. Let’s begin with 3. MOONDANCER (70) who was with Chris Waller up until he relocated to Kris Lees’ HQ at Newcastle. Lees actually won first time out with the son of Darci Brahma and added two more after that mixed in with some ‘fair’ runs. Quite liked his trial at Gosford the other day — he ran 3-lens 4th of 6 but didn’t really get a lot room either. Market watch advised. Ditto for 2. GREAT JOB (70) who is now with Clare Cunningham having been with Tracey Bartley for 9 runs, 5 of them wins and a second. The lightly-raced 5YO has trialled twice to get ready for the 1400m and both were quite reasonable. Take note regarding
that his only 3 runs at the trip are a win and a 4.4-lens then 2.2-lens off the winner (s) in Hawkesbury Kembla Provincial Championships Qualifiers earlier this year. Our Century’s stablemate 1. FUCHU (70) has won his last two starts by simply charging home over the top of rivals. The margins have been anything but big but wins have been utterly conclusive. Kim Waugh had the son of All Too Hard down to run at Randwick on Saturday but comes here instead. Note that Robbie Dolan has ridden him at the last two wins. Fuchu loves 1400m.
5. IAN Smith (breeder of Silent Witness), Bob Lapointe (owner), Gary Moore (Arc winning jockey and now trainer), Glyn Schofield (rider of Hay List/Boban et al) is the cast and crew behind my best bet on the first day of 2019 in 5. MY SONG (67) who has come up with winning draw too box 1. This big, strong fellow by Your Song has won 3 from 4 at this trip. He went for a little holiday off back to back wins at Hawkesbury but it was only 12-week break nothing too much. That’s why he only needed one trial and even though it says ‘last of 7’, Schofield was — how do I put this, very ‘kind’ to him leaving it all here for race day.
could be wrong but I thought he was so much better than the others (in this race) that went looking for dangers and didn’t really find anything to lower my threshold of confidence. For the record though, 10. FOUR MORE MILLERS (62) was good enough to string a whole bunch of wins together last campaign and third-up now, Todd Howlett doesn’t leave town empty-handed much. 11. SELES (61) has been chasing The Art of The Bar lately but she she’s a 3YO taking on older horses but she is good enough to carry it off. Has talent, for sure, but she was favourite and My Song $23 — what’s doing there!?
SCHOFIELD will don the Royal Blue in the last to pilot 9. LABURNUM (64) as he did in the Silver Shadow (7th) and final race of the campaign when 1.7lens 5th 8 here in a Bm66. The daughter of Denman certainly trialled well, fact it was a ripper, when she held off ( just) Prophet’s Thumb who came out and was a class above first-up at Gosford last Friday. Make no mistake, Prophet’s Thumb is way superior filly to Laburnum but it was a great trial from the Godolphin who is 3s 1-1-0 fresh. The third horse home in that trial I keep harping on about was 6. ROYAL WITNESS (62) who is now with Joe Pride having his 6 career starts for John Sargent for whom he won one and placed twice. Royal Witness trialled again subsequent to his 1.5-lens 3rd to Laburnum — winning by a narrow margin at WF (again) but was going half pace to the eye but running 46.94s in reality. 1. NIC’S VENDETTA (69) is one of those good, honest, consistent horses who is nearly always in contention and when he’s not, it often due to wide gates or bad luck — or both. Great draw this time, right trip, comes off 0.6-lens 2nd in a trial to Tactical Advantage no less.